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Friday, August 14, 2015

5 Ways to Get Unplugged






You do not need to be 'plugged in' at every moment of the day.


Hearing that sentence, do you have a sense of surprise?  Wonderment?  What about relief?

Well, I am here to tell you that it is true.  To know this truth is the first step of bringing a significant change in your day.

If you are a stay-at-home mom like me, your phone is beside you for the majority of the time and it is easy to be constantly checking emails, messages, texts.  If you are a teacher you have less time to do this but find that every break you are pouring into your Facebook and Instagram feed.  If you have an office job maybe you are also checking your phone as often as possible.  We do this partly out of boredom, partly out of the fear of missing out (Also known as FOMO), and maybe partly because we simply like to keep in contact with our friends.  There really is no harm in this, however it becomes harmful when it starts to take away from being in the moment, being intentional with your job, or begins to become an obsession.

The following are some practical ways to help you unplug so that you aren't found constantly distracted, being taken away from being in the moment, or wasting valuable time.

1.  Unplug for a significant amount of time everyday.  Whether you turn off the sound or leave your phone at home, a break from electronics can revitalize you and help you reassess your social media time.  Every afternoon, whether I am out or at home, I make a point of putting my phone away for at least an hour.  An hour is a start, but I encourage you to challenge yourself even further than this.

2.  Unplug for a full day once a week.  Once a week, usually on Sundays, I try my best to completely unplug.  This means no phone or computer.  I leave my phone on in case of phone calls, but that is it.  I am working on not answering texts that day, checking Facebook or email, etc.  This break allows me to focus on family, become less dependent on my phone, and also helps me to see that plugging in at all times is not a necessity.  Whether you can do a full day or not is up to your own discretion but I would again encourage you to challenge yourself.  Try it once, and you will most likely notice a sense of freedom and refreshment.

3.  Don't check your phone the minute you wake up.  The way you start your day off has a large impact on how your day is going to turn out.  If you start your day with checking your emails and texts from bed, you are putting yourself in a position of distraction and possibly even stress from the minute your eyes open.

My morning routine (if my baby girl doesn't wake up too early :)  is waking up, showering, breakfast, doing devotions, reading a book, and THEN checking my email.  By purposefully not even looking at my phone for that first 45 minutes of the day, I am setting the tone of my day to be more relaxed, more focused, and more intentional.  In reality, who do I need to contact and who is possibly contacting me at 6 am anyways?  It is nothing that can't wait.

4.  Turn off majority of notifications.  This simple act will stop many distractions.  A while ago I turned off all screen notifications on my phone.  This means that any text I receive, my phone will ding once, but I will not be able to see the text until I take the physical act of typing in my password and looking at my texts.  I have also turned off any notifications for any other app on my phone - whether it be email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  I won't know that something is new until I actually check.  Sometimes I event turn off my text message ding, if I need a bit more of a break.  These simple acts have been an immense help.  I have found myself checking my phone less, not worrying about whether I have an email right away and staying completely focused on my task at hand.  This is a one time thing to do, that will take little adjustment to get used to but will help make a change. { You can find this suggestion and more also at BonBonBreak on the article called 5 Simple Ways to Save Yourself from Device Addiction .}

5.  Unplug at a certain time each night.  By unplugging for a significant amount of time, whether that is 30 minutes or an hour, before you lay down for the night will allow you to feel relaxed with no distractions and will bring you into a more solid sleep.  There are many studies that show how the light from electronics affect our sleep, and while I won't get into those, the truth is - if you try it, there is a high chance you will notice that you have an easier time to fall asleep.

You do not have to be available for every moment of every day.  You do not have to be constantly plugged in.  This is a lie we often hear from society.  Ignore that lie and commit yourself to one or all five of these suggestions in order to give yourself more focused, intentional, and purposeful days.

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